Friday, 4 November 2011

Canon C300 XF camera launched

New Canon C300
There is a new addition to the Canon XF line with the newly announced C300, which will cost around $20,000 and should be available January 2012 for the EF mount model (which is Canon's regular electronic mount) or in March for the PL-mount model (suitable for use with a wide range of cine lenses, from the likes of Zeiss or Arri - or other stills lenses via adaptors) - the mounts don't appear to be interchangeable. Canon also launched 14.5-60mm and 30-300mm cine zooms in EF and PL-mount versions and 24mm, 50mm and 85mm primes for EF-mount only.

Canon also announced a new DSLR camera that will shoot 4K video at 24p (Motion JPEG) using a full frame sensor (cropped to APS-H size for video - about 80%), but that is still in development.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Free music for your videos

OK - so we all know we are not supposed to use music without permission. So, what do you do if you need some music, you're on a tight budget and you want to stay legal?

Well, there are a bunch of sites where you can find good music you can use for free in your video. Some like ccMixter are community sites with loads of composers brought together, others are run by individual composers and artist who want to get their music out there, by any means, to get some publicity.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Canon EOS-1D X announced

Canon's latest DSLR is the full-frame EOS-1D X, which it calls "the film-maker’s DSLR" as it deals with most of problems video users have with the 5D Mark II and 7D cameras, with full control over audio levels, focus, exposure and frame rate during recording. It's advanced processing deals with moirĂ©, rolling shutter effects and chromatic aberration, and it can record intra frame (full frames rather than reference frames) H.264.

For the full story, take a look at our main blog: Canon EOS-1D X filmmaker’s DSLR

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Training Course Notes: What is Peaking?

When most people first switch on peaking they leave the settings on the default colour - white. The trouble is, white peaking is the hardest to see. They might notice some difference between it being switched on or off but not much. And so most people switch it off and don't use it. This is a shame because peaking is very useful.

These notes are based on the Canon XF300 and XF305 - but the same information also applies to peaking on the Canon XF100 and XF105. In fact, all professional cameras have peaking - so this should help any Sony, Panasonic or JVC owners too.

I want to show you what it is, how to set it up, and maybe convince you to leave it on all the time.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Steve Jobs' speech Stanford University 2005

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Training Course Notes: Face detection on the XF305 and XF300

Face Detection on the XF300 and XF305
Normally I try to persuade people not to use auto focus. But, the Canon XF305 and XF105 cameras have a great feature – Face Detection (which only works in auto).

I was very sceptical about face detection on a pro camera. But, I have tried it on several interviews and have to say it works very well. So, if you are about to do a lot of interviews you may find it helpful, especially if you are a self-shooter or video journalist working alone. It should mean there is one less thing to worry about and you can concentrate on asking questions and listening to the answers.

These are my course notes on using face detection on the XF300 and XF305. I'll post notes for the XF100 and XF105 on a separate page.

Monday, 18 July 2011

How low can you go?

Photo: Copyright © 2007, Alan D. Wilson
I know it is summer here but, spare a thought for cameraman (and intrepid adventurer) Phil Coates.

He's been shooting a  documentary on the 2011 Catlin Arctic Survey with temperatures down to -43 degrees Centigrade. In one video blog he did for the Canon website he mentions it is so cold his eyelids were starting to freeze up.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

If The Cap Fits - EVF burn in

I got two emails recently on a related topic - so thought you might be interested...

The first email was from Al Bergstein...

"Hi, as a new owner of a xf305, I called Canon parts to order a evf [electronic viewfinder] plug to protect against the problem reported on the vimeo xf305 site, which documented burn in problems with the viewfinders. Canon's serviceman told me they fixed the problem in recent builds of the units, and that I would not need the caps. I notice you haven't covered this issue on your blog. Is there a reason for that? Can you confirm that the issue has been fixed through your contacts?"

Friday, 20 May 2011

Speed Reading with Lexar USB 3.0

New Lexar USB CF and SD card reader
I have a couple of Lexar card readers for transferring video and stills from my Compact Flash cards onto my Mac. It connects via USB which is OK. I'd have preferred a FireWire version - but I couldn't find anyone who made them.

Luckily Lexar has announced it is launching a professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader that can potentially shift 500MBps. My USB 2.0 version is supposed to clock 60MBps - although in reality it is considerably slower than that thanks to the overhead of the USB protocol, which means that if all the planets are in alignment you might conceivably get up to half the advertised speed.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Atomos Ninja Review

Atomos Ninja on the Canon XF305

I've been busy trying out the new Atomos Ninja, one of a growing group of on-camera recorders. These devices enable you to bypass the camera’s compression and record at a higher bitrate on those cameras that have non-compressed HDMI outputs (in the Ninja's case) or HD-SDI.

For the full review - hop over to our other technology blog.

Atomos Ninja and DSLR camera

Friday, 8 April 2011

Firmware upgrade for XF305 + XF300

Canon has announced a firmware upgrade for the XF305 and XF300  to help those shooting in 3D and adding double-slot recording.

Most of the new features were already available on the XF105 (because it was launched after the XF305) including the ability to configure two units for 3D HD video capture.

But, there are some things I feel are still missing, that could easily be added.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Utility Problem - Corrupt Preferences

Canon XF Utility
I've been using the Canon XF Utility to check what I have on my Compact Flash cards and it is a useful bit of software for saving a card's contents to a drive.

But, then one day a bit goes missing....

As  an XF305 owner  I am registered member of Canon Professional Services

So, I phoned them...

Monday, 14 March 2011

Training Course Notes: Synchronising Timecode

Timecode socket on the
Canon XF305
One of the advantages of buying a Canon XF305 or XF105 is the ability to sync timecode between cameras. Synchronised timecode can make editing multi camera shoots a lot easier.

However, someone asked me a few weeks ago if it was possible to sync a Sony with a Canon. In theory there is no reason why you can't, because all the manufacturers use SMPTE timecode. But, I wanted to check...and the answer is yes you can.

I've put together a video to show you how to sync a Canon XF305 with a Sony EX3. But, it would work between any two cameras that generate or recognise SMPTE timecode.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Video: Canon XF105 and 3D Genus Hurricane Rig

Canon’s EMEA Business Development Manager, Peter Yabsley, talks us through its latest family of file-based, solid-state cameras.

If you're interested in shooting a low budget 3D video you might want to consider the Canon XF105, which has special features that make it particularly useful for 3D.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Ninja - shipping this week

We met up with Atomos CEO Jeromy Young at BVE2011 last week to find out what's happening with the Ninja. Well, it is ready and shipping this week.

If you haven't heard of the's a portable field recorder which plugs into a camera's HDMI socket. One of the main reasons for using it is to bypass the cameras usual compression system and record at a higher bit rate, using Apple's ProRes codec. It records onto notebook hard disk drives (HDD) or solid state drives (SSD) - which should also allow you to record for longer. You can read up on all the Ninja's specs on the Atomos site.

We recorded Jeromy demonstrating all the controls and menu items. The interface is very clean and simple. The Ninja comes with batteries, battery charger, caddies for the drive, docking station and cables in a sturdy carry case. There's plenty of information in our video.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Training Course Notes: Tapeless - Compact Flash Media

The Canon XF300 and XF305 record to compact flash cards. This tapeless workflow worries some people. But it shouldn’t. Yes, you will see some horror stories on forums telling tales of lost data. But, tape had its problems too. So here is a guide to working tapeless without tears.

Wide Angle Lens Attachment For XF300 and XF305

Century, part of Schneider Optics, has released a new HD Wide Angle lens attachment for the popular Canon XF300 and XF305 camcorders.

The new WA-8XLC-XF Wide Angle Converter attaches directly to the front of the camcorder's built-in 18x zoom lens to increase viewing coverage by 20%. Recent approval from the BBC for HD broadcast production has increased demand for the XF300/XF305, but at 29.3mm (35mm lens equivalent) at its widest, it doesn't have a particularly wide-angle lens.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Canon XF105 shifts axis to 3D

Canon will show its new XF100 and XF105 cameras, plus the recently announced XA10 (making its European debut) at BVE next week.

The XF105 is particularly interesting for its innovative 3D-friendly features, and a pair of them will be shown in the new Genus Hurricane rig designed by cameraman, Alister Chapman.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Canon XF305 and XF105 Review

Canon XF305
To kick start this new blog here's the review I wrote for a the Guild Of TV Cameramen's magazine, Zerb....

2010 was a good year for Canon watching. At Broadcast Video Expo 2010 there were more Canon DSLR cameras in the exhibition hall than traditional camcorders.