August 31, 2011

Panasonic HDC-Z10000 3D camera

Panasonic today launched the HDC-Z10000, which is claimed to be the first integrated twin-lens 2D/3D camcorder that is officially compatible with the new AVCHD 3D/Progressive standard. 

The HDC-Z10000 is aimed at bridging the gap between amateur and professional user in both quality and cost. 

It features two sets of 3xCMOS sensors, records Full-HD 50p (60p US) 2D and 3D images, and has two F1.5 lenses treated with Nano Surface Coating - claimed to be another first for a camcorder, which should significantly reduce ghosting and flare to produce crisp, clear images. 

The lenses go as wide as 32mm for 3D or 29.8mm for 2D, with a 10x zoom for 3D and 12x for 2D. For close-ups it can go to about 45cm for 3D, which is closer than similar 3D camcorders. 

For professional users, it features enhanced manual functions such as three independent rings for zoom, focus, and iris control, as well as an Intelligent Auto function and a new image stabiliser, Hybrid O.I.S+3. 

It has built-in microphones for recording Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround sound or two-channel stereo, plus two XLR audio inputs with 48v phantom power.

2012 Games go 3D

The London 2012 Olympic games will covered in 3D, using 3D camcorders from Panasonic. Olympic Broadcasting Services plans to produce more than 200 hours of 3D coverage, in conjunction with Panasonic and the International Olympic Committee. 

This will include the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and a selection of the main athletics, gymnastics, diving and swimming competitions. Of course, whether you can see it in 3D depends not only on having a 3D TV set, but also on whether your local rights-holding broadcaster is willing to show it.

The BBC, the Olympics broadcaster for the UK, has said that it will show some events in 3D, probably the opening and closing ceremonies and a handfull of major competitions, such as the 100m final - as it would have to use the BBC HD channel to show 3D (which would be unfair to HD viewers) as the only other HD channel is BBC One. The BBC also plans to use NHK's experimental Super Hi-Vision format at the Games, which is 16x the resolution of HD and will be shown on 15m high screens in London, Glasgow and (probably) Bradford. The SHV image is so clear that it could be just as good as being in the stadium - there is likely to be just the one camera, making it even more like reality.

Some of the 3D action will be captured using Panasonic's AG-3DP1, P2HD professional fully-integrated twin-lens Full-HD 3D camcorder (pictured). 

By David Fox

August 30, 2011

Blackmagic unleashes Thunderbolt

Blackmagic Design has started shipping the world’s first video product with Thunderbolt technology. 

The $995 UltraStudio 3D allows portable capture and playback with full resolution dual-stream 3D support. It also features: 10-bit hardware; dual link 3Gbps SDI; support for up to 1080p60 in SDI; component analogue and HDMI 1.4a connections; full SD, HD and 2K support; plus balanced analogue and AES/EBU digital audio capture and playback.

For 3D it features a choice of interleaved, side-by-side, frame-packed or dual-stream capture and playback.

Dual-stream 3D, which captures each lens output as a separate file, is higher quality because each eye is full resolution video, but it is less compatible with current editing software.

To solve this, Blackmagic Design’s Media Express 3 (above) has also been upgraded to handle both interleaved and dual-stream 3D for capture and playback of 3D media.

With so many connections, the UltraStudio 3D lets users connect to almost any deck, cameras and monitor. It instantly switches between SD, HD and 2K, making it suitable for post production and broadcast use when working on design, editing, paint and effects tasks.

It has a new internal hardware design, with support for 10-bit SDI video and full support for video rates up to 1080p60 via SDI, HDMI and analogue component. The 10Gbps Thunderbolt technology easily handles this quality, and allows high-end post quality and features in a portable design - although it isn't truly mobile as it isn't powered via Thunderbolt (see Richard's comment below).

“We are so excited to release the world's first feature film quality Thunderbolt technology-based capture and playback device. Working closely with Intel and Apple on this project, I cannot believe how many advanced industry leading features are packed into this single product,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. "UltraStudio 3D has finally provided a real, portable high quality solution at a price anyone can afford."

"Thunderbolt technology is a game-changer for media creators,” added Jason Ziller, Intel’s director of Thunderbolt Marketing, “Enthusiasts can now work with multiple streams of full resolution video with extreme portability.”

Other features include: hardware-based 10-bit Up, Down and Cross-Conversion; Genlock/tri-sync input; Sony-compatible RS-422 deck control; support for uncompressed 8- and 10-bit and compressed video capture and playback; hardware SD and HD keying; and the SDI inputs include full SDI re-clocking for capture from poor quality SDI sources.

It is compatible with any Mac OS X computers with a Thunderbolt port (which includes all of Apple's current laptops, iMacs and Mac Mini models), and supports Final Cut Studio, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve and more. It includes a free developer software development kit.

Related post: Thunderbolt - Lightning speed editing

By David Fox

August 28, 2011

Canon FK30-300 + FK14.5-60 lenses

Canon has two new precision-matched wide angle and telephoto cine zoom lenses that are based on a new optical design platform and should be suitable for anything up to 4K production.

The FK14.5-60mm wide-angle cine zoom and the FK30-300mm telephoto cine zoom incorporate breakthrough Canon optical designs claimed to optimise and enhance multiple imaging qualities while minimising optical aberrations and distortions.

The lenses are supposedly more compact and lightweight than rival PL-mount lenses and feature a new optical design that virtually eliminates focus breathing. By meeting the emerging 4K production image format standards, both lenses should ensure high performance at 2K and HD.

The lenses are engraved with large, easily visible zoom, iris and focus scales for film-style operation. Both have a common 136mm front diameter for optical accessories. The location, diameter, and rotation angle of the lens gears are also identical, which makes it easier to change lenses on set.

The wide-angle FK14.5-60 maintains its T2.6 maximum aperture over its entire focal range. The lens preserves a high modulation transfer function wide-open, with well-controlled light distribution across the image plane, and reduced ghosting and glare from strong light sources.

Both lenses allow precision back-focus adjustments to make lens/camera set-up quicker and easier, useful for multi-camera productions. They also boast "superb control over geometric distortion," to prevent visible anomalies when shooting at extreme wide angles on large sets with extended straight edges.

By David Fox

Canon 20x HD ENG zoom lens

The new KJ20x8.2B IRSD HD lens is the latest in Canon's HDgc series of portable HD zoom lenses, designed to be affordable for both broadcast ENG use and freelance camera owners.

It has a built-in 2x extender, a feature usually seen on higher-end HD lenses, giving a generous range of focal lengths, from 8.2mm-164mm to 16.4mm-328mm. It also boasts an enhanced macro function that effectively reduces the minimum object distance (from the front of the lens) to just 10mm.

Although it is less expensive, the KJ20x8.2B uses the same optical materials and coatings, and dispersion glass, as Canon's flagship HDxs series lenses.

The lens is claimed to have minimised axial and lateral chromatic aberrations, coma aberrations and geometric distortion. The new materials and multi-layer coatings reduce ghosting, flare and glare.

It benefits from the latest improvements in Canon’s Advanced Drive Unit technology. This includes Shuttle Shot, which allows users to rapidly zoom back and forth between any two positions. Users set specific zoom positions with a Memo push switch, which enables more reliable Shuttle Shot set-up in the field.

The zoom can travel end-to-end in just one second, an improvement from previous models, but new, faster noise suppression on the servomotor in the Advanced Drive Unit should ensure quiet operation.

The new ADU has also been ergonomically redesigned with a ribbed surface on the bottom of the Drive Unit for a firmer grip and better control. A new grip support allows users to securely grasp the ADU without inadvertently pressing the VTR or Shuttle Shot buttons.

By David Fox

August 27, 2011

Gekko lenslite DSLR mount

Gekko Technology will introduce a new DSLR mount for its established lenslite at IBC. The mount will allow direct attachment of the colour-stable, robust ringlight to Canon 5D, 7D and Nikon D3 cameras.

It will fix directly to the base of the camera via the tripod screw and secures 15mm bars that hold the lamp head on axis around the lens. The base of the mount has an additional fixing so the camera/lenslite combination can still be mounted on a tripod, but with the centre of gravity moved forward for stability.

“DSLR cameras such as the Canon 5D have become very popular tools for video content acquisition and look likely to remain so given their versatility,” commented Gekko founder and MD, David Amphlett. “The new lenslite DSLR mount provides all the benefits of a high-quality solid-state fixture that was once only the domain of much larger professional cameras."

Designed for studio or location production, and with a colour temperature of 5600K, lenslite delivers 260 foot candles of intensity at a distance of 1m. It can be used as a primary light source or as soft fill, and powered by any 12-volt to 40v power source. Accessories include filter stages, gel holder, gel cutting template, adjustable French flag, wireless or cabled dimmers and a remote DMX interface.

By David Fox

August 26, 2011

Phantom high-speed camera extended

Vision Research's latest Phantom v641 digital high-speed camera can shoot full HD at up to 2,560 frames per second.

The v641 has a four-megapixel 35mm-format CMOS sensor (which can capture 2560x1600 images at up to 1,450fps), and is smaller and lighter than its predecessor, the Phantom v640.

Other new features include: Dual power inputs for battery backup or hot-swapping batteries; a repositioned viewfinder port to make cabling cleaner and less intrusive; two auxiliary power ports that can provide 12v DC (1.5A) power for accessories – and each has an available trigger signal input; and dual cooling fans.

It has dual HD-SDI ports, which can be configured as a single dual-link 4:4:4 port. It includes 8GB of built in high-speed RAM with 16GB and 32GB versions also available. It can do extended dynamic range shots, capturing two different exposures within a single frame. Its native sensitivity is ISO 1000, which goes a little way to counter the significantly greater light needs of high-speed cinematography.

By David Fox

Fujinon matched 3D lenses + controls

Fujinon has developed a new HD motor drive lens, synchronisation unit, and wireless controller for 3D and robotics.

The XA4x7.5BMD-D3R/L motor drive HD zoom lens comes in right and left lens versions. It has a F2.8 maximum aperture over its 7.5mm to 30mm focal length. Minimum focus distance is 450mm.

"For the size/weight these are unique to Fujinon," said Paul Goodwin, Divisional Head Broadcast & CCTV Products Division, Pyser-SGI (Fujinon distributor for the UK and Ireland). The 2/3-inch lenses feature "high precision optical systems supplied in matched lens pairs for correct 3D image rendition." The compact size and weight (450g) is useful for 3D rigs in tight spaces, on jibs or for handheld/Steadicam use.

It has precision servos with anti-backlash systems, which offer "high precision synchronous control over lens pairs using just one set of pan bar controls or RS232C serial (robotic) control, both of which are via the Fujinon 3D Synchronisation Unit HJ-303A-08A. Thus when zooming/focusing both lenses move in precisely the same way to the same optical positions. 16-bit encoder outputs are provided from the synchronisation unit for feedback to 3D positioning control and tracking systems," he explained.

The controller makes rigging much simpler. "The lens control system is easy to set-up, essentially plug-and-use, with no adjustments required (apart from back focus). Therefore no lens tracking checks need be made specifically for control software to ensure correct stereoscopy at different lens focal lengths and focus positions."

The 3D lenses can be remote controlled using Fujinon’s new WL-325A wireless controller, which works up to about 100m, "permitting one set of pan bar controls to be used for rigs on jibs or in remote locations. This device can be used with any Fujinon Digi Power HD/SD lens or for 3D stereoscopic rigs using a matched pair of lenses."

By David Fox

Final Cut Pro X training reviewed

When Final Cut Pro X launched there was a lot of incorrect information about what it could and could not do. One experienced editor reviewer said FCP X couldn’t do overwrite edits and that you could only change a clip's speed by 25% and 50%. Both statements are untrue.

To really find out what it can do and get some hands-on experience it is useful to get some training. A classroom-based course is a good idea if you have the time and money, or you could, of course, read Apple’s online help – but like most manuals it is arm-gnawingly boring.

A more appealing alternative is to download some video training. A few months before launch, Apple previewed FCP X with a select few individuals. Two of this privileged group were FCP trainers Steve Martin of Ripple Training ( and Larry Jordan ( - pictured below speaking at the recent FCPUG London SuperMeet). Both had a busy time ahead of the FCP X launch and both delivered videos for download soon after. A few people I know bought the training before they bought the software to see whether FCP X was worth buying.

What you get

Steve Martin’s training comes as a 1.34GB zipped file. Once opened you get 38 QuickTime videos and two pdfs. One pdf tells you about Apple accreditation while the other shows how to download media files to practice on and follow Steve as he takes you through FCP X. The media is a further big download (1.24GB) and includes a group of American Civil War re-enactors shooting at one another and being interviewed.

I’d recommend downloading the media because it will enable you to follow those sections on fixing audio, synching audio and colour correction. Unless of course you already have video with mains hum, from a DSLR with dodgy white balance! The training videos add up to around five hours of training for $39.99.

Larry Jordan’s training comes as a 1.36GB zip file. It opened out, on my Mac, to one pdf (a contents page) and 79 QuickTime videos in 12 chapter folders. His website states there are 88 videos, but that might include the missing ones from chapter two, which Larry explained: “…is devoted to trouble-shooting. And, as of now, we don't know what troubles we need to shoot. So, there are no movies in this chapter yet.”

Larry expects you to provide your own footage, but that’s probably not a problem for most people. In the training he demonstrates using some GVs of a garden, a kitchen and an interview. If you have something similar you’ll easily be able to follow along. The videos amount to around 11 hours of training for $99.99.

If you are new to editing you’ll find all you need to ingest, edit and share (export) your project. Neither trainer assumes you have previous knowledge. That said, if you are upgrading from iMovie or are an experienced FCP 7 user you’ll be shown the similarities (many keystrokes have not changed) and the differences.

If you’re impatient you’ll probably prefer Steve’s approach, by lesson nine (about one hour in) you’ll be doing your first rough cut of the media provided. Larry, however, takes a bit longer to get to that stage. He spends the first three hours doing a good overview of the software and, most importantly, how to manage the media.

Database or editor, or both?

FCP X is a database of media events rather than a series of projects (as in FCP 7). It took me a while to get my head around how it stores and organises media – but this is important and I’d recommend you don’t skim through it. Occasionally I did wonder if I was ever going to edit anything, but with hindsight I think it is time well spent. There is no point jumping straight in trying to edit if you don’t understand how FCP X organises your video.

Both trainers take you through the basics of editing, trimming, transitions, effects and audio. FCP X does not do multi-cam editing (at the time of writing) but it is expected sometime soon. But it can sync one or more video clips with one or more audio clips by analysing the audio. Users of the PluralEyes plug-in will be used to this. And it is explained clearly by both trainers.

Which training?

It is difficult to recommend one set of training over the other. Both are very good. If you don’t have any video to practice with you should probably consider Steve Martin’s training as you get the full package and it is cheaper than Larry’s. You could easily go through it in a single day (if you turn your phone off). Although I suspect you’d be a bit googly eyed by the end of the day if you did. One small criticism is that Steve used a normal sized pointer, which I occasionally lost sight of as it whizzed across the screen. There were quite a few times I had to rewind the video to check exactly where he had clicked. But, that is the advantage of training like this, you can watch it as many times as you like. In comparison Larry had enlarged his pointer, which radiated a red circle when he clicked on anything, so was a lot easier to follow with tired eyes.

I have previously bought training webinars from Larry Jordan’s site and attended several seminars he gave at BVE a few years ago. I like his relaxed style and methodical approach. His training is more expensive but still great value for money. You get plenty of in-depth instruction.

Larry is a classic trainer – he outlines each chapter with an overview of what you’ll learn, demonstrates it, then concludes with a summary of what you should have learnt. Once I was about half way through I watched most of the short overview videos in fast forward leaving more time to concentrate on the training sections. I think you’d be crazy to try and get though all of Larry’s training in a day. It will take about 11 hours just to watch it and you’ll need time to practice on your own material after each section to consolidate what you have learnt.

If you’re not interested in editing, but do shoot stock footage, FCP X could easily become your new library as every shot can have keywords attached and even different sections of the same shot can be given different searchable keywords. In which case I’d recommend you buy Larry’s training as it goes into this aspect of organising the media in more detail.

Is this way of learning for you?

It looks like we have time to get up to speed with the software. There are quite a few things missing that professional editors have come to expect. Over the next few months updates will start to appear, and more plug-ins will emerge. So, for many users, there is no need to rush into a decision.

If you are easily distracted you probably should book yourself onto a classroom-based course. When I was totally new to editing I found classroom training worked best because you can ask the instructor questions. Most good training organisations will also offer telephone support for around 30 days afterwards. With luck some Skillset money (in the UK) may be available to reduce the costs.

If you have editing experience and need a conversion course, video training may be ideal. It will take you through the differences and show all the features in a logical and straightforward manner. In a group you can be slowed down by the technophobes, with this training you set your own pace. You can fast forward through anything that isn’t relevant to you now, but it will always be there when you need to apply a feature you rarely use.

A classroom-based course also requires time off to attend, while a video course allows you to choose the time and the place. It is very flexible, allowing you to do an hour a day if you’re busy or motor through all of it over a quiet weekend. But, to really make this training work for you – you have to set aside time to concentrate on watching, learning and most important of all practicing.

By Christina Fox

This review first appeared in the Autumn 2011 issue of Zerb, the magazine of the Guild of Television Cameramen.

August 24, 2011

Petrol's new HD DSLR bags

Petrol Bags has three new bags for DSLR cameras: the Digiback Jr. DSLR Backpack; the DSLR Campack Plus; and the DigiSuite DSLR Camera Case.

The €155/£130 Digiback Jr. has an upper compartment contoured to fit a DSLR camera with the lens mounted. When outfitted with a telephoto or other extra long lens, the camera can be inserted vertically. The lower chamber has room for many accessories. Removable internal dividers help secure contents and create pockets for holding a mattebox, camera plate, follow focus, extra lenses, and more. Contents are cushioned by layers of padded fabric.

The backpack uses breathable 3D mesh, with padded shoulder straps and adjustable sternum/waist straps for proper weight distribution and easier carrying. Cushioned back support is provided for optimal spinal comfort. There are several pockets for extra storage, a removable rain cover, and a flash memory card mini pouch (holds up to four cards).

The €290/£246 DigiSuite DSLR is a semi-hard suitcase-style carrier that can take two DSLR cameras with lenses attached. Detachable dividers create pockets for storing a mattebox, camera plate, follow focus, camera light, viewfinder, cables, etc. With the dividers removed, it can serve as a regular suitcase. A padded interior pouch can hold a 17-inch laptop.

Twin brackets allow users to quickly connect Petrol’s Snaplock wheel and trolley system (PA1001). Additional features include cold-moulded laminate panels for extra protection, auxiliary zippered storage pouches for accessories, exterior front pocket, top and side carrying handles.

The €320/£270 Campack Plus can hold two video-enabled DSLR cameras with lenses mounted, plus accessories and a 17-inch laptop.

Features include a memory card pouch (up to four cards), exterior front/side accessory pockets, padded top handle, removable rain cover, and exterior straps for carrying a tripod.

Related post: Dr. has new case for video DSLRs

By David Fox

August 17, 2011

Cooke's new 135mm cine lenses

Cooke Optics, will show a new pair of 135mm lenses for its 5/i Prime and Panchro lens sets at IBC.

The 135mm for the 5/i (pictured above) has T1.4 speed and the 5/i’s signature focus ring that illuminates when required, eliminating the need for external lights that might affect the shot.

The Panchro 135mm (below), which is being shown as a prototype, will join Cooke's smaller, lighter weight lens family at T2.8, and adds value to the lower-cost lens range that is often used for 2nd unit film shoots, TV dramas and documentaries.

Both lenses are colour-matched and calibrated to all existing Cooke lenses and feature built-in /i Technology, which provides cinematographers, camera operators and post teams with such metadata as lens setting, focusing distance, aperture and depth-of-field, hyperfocal distance and focal length in both metric and imperial measurements.

Both lenses will be available for delivery early next year.

Related post: Cooke garnishes /i technology lens data

By David Fox

Angenieux Optimo 45-120mm zoom

The new Optimo 45-120mm S35mm cinematography lens from Angenieux has a zoom ratio of 2.7x and a fast aperture of T2.8 (wide open). It weighs less than 2kg, making it suitable for handheld or Steadicam work.

Its optical design avoids breathing. It also has a 320ยบ focus rotation with more than 50 precise focus witness marks.

The Optimo 45-120mm has similar specifications to the 15-40mm and 28-76mm lightweight Optimo lenses it has been designed to complement. They deliver fast apertures, good contrast and colour reproduction.

The Optimo 45-120 will also be available with the Angenieux Data System, ADS/I module integrating the Cooke Optics /i protocol and designed for all Angenieux lightweight lenses, including the Optimo DP 16-42 and DP 30-80. The ADS/I module enables monitoring and transfer of key lens data for many applications such as post-production analysis, lens synchronization for 3D, special effects and virtual studios.

The lens can also use Angenieux interchangeable mounts for APS-C format DSLR cameras, such as the Canon EOS 7D, EOS 1D MK IV, Nikon D3000/D3100, D300, and D7000.

By David Fox

Vortex i-ScriptBoy timecode logger

Until a few years ago, Vortex Communications manufactured the ScriptBoy Wireless Timecode Clipboard. It was "well-liked and hundreds are probably still in regular use," said Vortex director, Ian Prowse. "Then the RoHS lead-free directive came along, which meant that our custom-produced LCD Display was no longer allowed to be used in the product and the whole setup cost for a re-fabrication would have been prohibitive."

The original ScriptBoy used a licence-free wireless transmitter attached to the camera, which sent timecode as it was recorded to the “clipboard” where it was displayed in real-time, allowing users to hold the count whilst making production notes.

"This year, we are introducing a tablet/smartphone version which is based on the original concept but also includes comprehensive notes and pre-editing script functionality," he added. This is in response to continued demand for the clipboard, with almost weekly enquiries.

The new i-ScriptBoy works in a similar way to the legacy product, with stacks of extra features, but maintains the functionality production teams are used to. The Timecode Transmitter is now WiFi, and sends information from the camera to web-connected devices. Like the original, the timecode display can be paused, but the app also includes Shot and Take buttons to capture timecode automatically and store in the Notes area for later export to editing and logging systems.

The Notes Editor stores text from the NotePad and images from the DoodlePad so that the final stored notes file resemble those using pen and paper. It will work with any mobile device with a web browser (the transmitter contains its own web site), from an iPhone to a laptop.

The Transmitter synchronises all devices accessing the site and shares Timecode and Notes information in real time, providing coherent sets of notes and timings that all can see and update. An optional timecode re-generator can synchronize multiple cameras and other equipment that needs to be locked to the same timecode.

The i-ScriptBoy also comes as a package with a pre-loaded tablet to work out-of-the-box.

By David Fox

August 04, 2011

Teletest's 'affordable' 3D Binorig

Teletest’s new Binorig is claimed to be "the world’s most affordable, fully motorised broadcast S3D camera rig," as it will cost under £10,000.

Designed for use with cameras such as Sony’s HDC-P1 or PMW-EX3 and the Red One, Teletest managing director, Nick Rose (pictured), claims that the Binorig is as good as rigs that cost four or five times as much. Its first batch of ten Binorigs has already sold out, with a second batch expected in October.

“The production of S3D content has been stifled due to the prohibitive cost and complexity of S3D camera rigs," he said.

There is also a remote control unit for the Binorig that costs just £1,000 (where rival units can costs £10,000 or more).

“Teletest has spent over two years and hundreds of thousands of pounds developing the affordable and easy to use Binorig which produces stunning results. We designed a complete package, contained in two easy to manage flight cases, for stereographers or for cameramen with little experience in shooting S3D.”

Cameras are mounted onto Teletest’s Teleplates, which in turn can be rapidly mounted onto the rig using the quick release system.

“Using Teletest’s new S3D LCD monitor, the Cyclops-HD, setting up the Binorig takes only a few minutes," he added.

At 1,500nits, the Cyclops-HD is claimed to be "the world’s brightest broadcast LCD" (it is pictured above on the Binorig). The S3D version, at £1,999, allows the input of two cameras on a mirror or side-by-side rig. The 3D card has been newly upgraded with extra functions added to meet requests from the monitor's first users.

S3D set up can be quickly done using the grey difference screen and then the S3D image can be viewed with anaglyph glasses.

“With the introduction of the Binorig and Cyclops-HD, we expect that cameramen and production companies will now be able to offer broadcasters such as Sky and the Discovery channel far more footage than they could previously," said Rose.

By David Fox

August 02, 2011

Hitachi SK-HD1500 slo-mo camera

Hitachi's new 3Gbps HD 1080p broadcast camera system, based on its SK-HD1200 camera, will have variants for 3x slow motion, point-of-view, wireless, fibre, triax, and solid-state recording.

Several models were shown at NAB, but the SK-HD1500 3x slow motion version will be launched at IBC next month.

It offers native 1080/150i and 50p (or 720/150P), and has three 2.3Mpixel 2/3-inch IT-CCDs, with 6Gbps transmission over SMPTE standard optical fibre.

Its light sensitivity is F10 at 2000 lux in normal speed mode, but drops to F7 at 2000 lux at 150fps. Similarly, the signal-to-noise ratio goes from a typical -60dB at 50fps to -54dB at 150fps.

Its CU-HD1500 camera control unit offers selectable HD output (HD-SDI) 1080/150i, 1080/100i, 1080/50i, 720/150p, 720/100p, 720/50p, using single link SMPTE245 or dual link, and SD output (D1) of 480i/60, 575i/50.

Power consumption should be 60W, without the viewfinder, and the camera head will weigh 2.2kg (or twice that with the fibre adapter).

Hitachi's new DK-H200 is a box-type version of the SK-HD1200 that is useful for graphics, PoV or remote applications. The head weighs 1.5kg, and can be fitted with a fibre output.

The DK-HD200 can be used with two SM fibre interfaces that can transport 3Gbps HD-SDI SMPTE-424M video distances in excess of 3km. It was developed to meet the needs of a US customer.

Also new are the SK-HD2200 studio camera and the SK-HD1200 handheld companion (pictured below in a studio rig).

Like the other 3Gbps cameras, they have 30-bit 175MHz RGB processing, bi-directional fully progressive transmission and HD-SDI multi-format camera outputs.

The new Ultra-Advanced Interline (UAIT) CCDs are claimed to deliver "the highest exposure latitude and most accurate depth-of-modulation curves that have ever been achieved with a television camera".

The digital fibre transmission can be used with a single 3Gbps camera or with two 1080i cameras. This reduces the required fibre cable and ensures full compatibility with 3D systems that currently use L/R Hitachi 1080i PoV box cameras. Several aux and prompter channels can be sent to the camera head and provide trunk data in any format to and from the camera control unit.

The new Hitachi CCUs were designed specifically for 3Gbps use and provide multi-format outputs for any worldwide HD standard.

The 3Gbps cameras, as well as existing 1080i models, can be used with the Multidyne EOS-4000 optical routing system. Together with a standard PC, this allows a large number of cameras to be connected to CCUs in multiple studios or production facilities, for optimum flexibility.

By David Fox

Vimeo Pro low-cost video hosting

Vimeo, the internet video hosting site popular with video makers (and the one we use at UrbanFox...), has gone commercial, with the launch of Vimeo Pro, aimed at small businesses, facilities and production companies, who want the cheapest, high-quality host on the web.

At $199 a year, for 50GB of video files (about 500 five-minute HD videos) and 250,000 video plays, Vimeo Pro will be a great deal less expensive than its rivals (where prices typically range from at least $1,000 upwards).

"We really think we are at a breakthrough price point for a premium service," said Dae Mellencamp, Vimeo's General Manager (pictured). "We don't think anyone is doing anything like it in the professional video hosting space."

Unlike most other sites, it doesn't calculate video throughput by the amount of bandwidth used (which is often difficult to quantify, especially in advance), but by the number of plays your videos get. An extra 100,000 plays costs a further $199 (as does an extra 50GB storage – the unused plays from the add-on packages will roll over for two years, but the 250,000 basic plays reset each year). Mellencamp believes that the basic amount of storage and plays "would cover 99% of people using the site."

It will be useful for productions or small facilities that want to put up rough cut edits or dailies for review, or who want to host video for customers, as URLs can be specific to each video (or a portfolio of videos) and can be password protected and blocked from search engines if required.

There are customisable, themed web pages (portfolios). It is easy to add a logo (there is no Vimeo logo). And there is no programming required.

Vimeo's video quality is high (up to 1080p – although 720p is recommended due to internet bandwidth limitations), and reliability is good as it is run on Akamai's servers and network. Video is H.264 encoded and available in both Flash and HTML 5 versions (with auto detect), so it will run on iPads and iPhones, and any PC or web-enabled TV. It was the second video hosting site after YouTube to support HTML 5.

Vimeo has about 7million registered users, and had 50m unique viewers in Q2 (not including all the players embedded in other site's web pages). It has become the main video site for film and video makers to show their footage, but it isn't open to commercial content (or anything that is intended to sell or promote a product or service). Vimeo Pro users that have content that is not commercial will also be able to place it on the normal Vimeo site, where any plays won't count against their play limit.

By David Fox