Let Jigsaw24 take care of your Casper deployment

Let Jigsaw24 take care of your Casper deployment

We’ve been helping our customers work with JAMF Software’s Casper Suite since 2009, and have deployed more licences than any other UK provider, so there are no safer hands for your Casper deployment. We can host and manage your deployment, can host a deployment you manage, or can manage your Casper Suite deployment while you host it onsite. 

A hosted, managed Casper Suite deployment (we host your server and manage all the devices)

In this scenario, you don’t have to do anything. You tell us how many devices you need managing and which permissions your various user groups will need, then we host the licences at our Tier 2+ UK datacentre, and manage the deployment and maintenance of them. If you ever want to add new licences or change settings, all you have to do is give our team a call, and we’ll arrange everything from this end.

Why choose a hosted, managed deployment? 

Predictable per device pricing. Let’s get this out of the way early. Our managed, hosted solution is billed on a per device basis, so you’re only paying for the licences you use and you don’t incur any hardware, power or cooling costs.

No need to retrain your team. Casper Suite is fantastic, but in order to make the best use of it and understand the depth of its feature set, you’ll have to get your team trained up. However, this can be time-consuming, JAMF Software’s official training is costly, and there’s nothing to stop a trained staff member moving to a new job and leaving you with a gap in your knowledge that needs to be filled (thus incurring additional costs). However, a managed solution means that our team take responsibility for this, and you’ve no need to train your team.

No internal time commitment. All you have to do is tell us how you want your devices to behave. We’ll then build profiles, register devices, apply settings, monitor usage, troubleshoot and generate reports for you – just issue your orders and sit back while we run around on your behalf.

Secure access to a UK-based datacentre. Your licences will be hosted at our Tier 2+, UK-based datacentre, and you’ll be given private, secure access.

Zero support costs. With a hosted, managed arrangement, all your support costs are included, so there’s no additional outlay for the support and maintenance of your Casper setup, and you don’t have to dedicate your own IT team’s time and resources to it, either.

A hosted Casper Suite deployment (we host the server but you manage the devices)

All hosted Casper Suite deployments are held in our Tier 2+ UK datacentre, and you are given secure VPN access to the servers holding your licences. In this scenario, your team would manage the devices themselves (you can still ask us for tech support, though).

Why choose a hosted deployment? 

No onsite costs. Hosting licences in our datacentre costs you a flat, predictable fee per licence, and lets you sidestep storage, power, cooling, management and time costs associated with supporting new hardware onsite. It also means you don’t have to buy any hardware as part of your initial outlay.

You maintain ultimate control over your licences. If you’ve already got the know-how in-house, have a very delicate mixed environment that you don’t trust outsiders with, or have users whose needs and permissions will have to change frequently, you might prefer to manage your devices in-house. A hosted deployment lets you do this without having to assume responsibility for the maintenance of any new hardware.

Develop in-house expertise. Who are we stand in the way of professional development? You may want to get members of your team trained up on Apple and Casper Suite workflows, in which case getting the right training on managing your devices yourself is essential. Find out how we can help below.

Our expert support and training. Our accredited team offer support contracts that can include remote and onsite support, regular system health checks, access to our help desk for your end users and more, all backed up by our 24 years’ experience in mixed platform environments. We’ll even include a JSS health check as part of your service level agreement. We can also provide four levels of official JAMF Software support, and offer training courses of our own for technical teams and end users.

A managed onsite Casper Suite deployment (you host the server, we manage the devices)

If you want to host your own licences but don’t have the time to take on device admin or the funds to take the training that enables you to do it, choose a managed onsite deployment. Your hardware stays in your server room where you can monitor and control it, no one has to VPN into our datacentre, but we still take care of all the behind the scenes stuff.

Why choose a managed onsite deployment? 

No need to retrain staff. Training can be time-consuming and costly and, not to be blunt, but there’s nothing to stop a trained staff member moving to a new job and leaving you with a gap in your knowledge that needs to be filled. A managed solution takes that pressure off your team (and your budget).

You can choose and check your own hardware. We’re very protective of our server room and security practices, too, so we understand some people want to keep their servers where they can see them.

Obey strict storage policies without having to take on management tasks. If you don’t want to deal with Casper Suite admin, but want or need to keep your data onsite to comply with contractual or legal obligations, a managed solution allows you to do this without taking on any additional admin tasks.

No support or training costs. Support comes under the umbrella of us managing your deployment, so there’s no extra cost for that, and with our team handling things, there’s no need to retrain your in-house team.

Already got Casper Suite? Ask us about…

Transitioning your existing Casper Suite to the cloud. If you already have Casper Suite onsite but would like to move to a hosted or hosted and managed setup, we can help make the move quick, seamless and cost effective.

JSS Healthchecks. If you want to keep your deployment onsite but don’t think it’s running as efficiently as it could, we also offer JSS Healthchecks, which are designed to ensure your Casper Suite deployment and associated networking are optimised for each other, so you can improve performance without the need for costly upgrades. Find out more here

Legacy JSS If you’ve previously installed Casper Suite but it’s fallen into disuse or the expertise has left your organization, call on us to give yor setup the kiss of life. We’ll revitalize your hardware and policies to make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment.

JAMF Software Jumpstart training. This is mandatory training that JAMF Software insist you have if you’re going to manage your own devices (if we’re managing your devices for you, you can skip it). Depending on the size and complexity of your deployment, you could need to undertake anything between four hours of remote training and a three day onsite course that costs £3500. Ask our experts what you’ll need.

Additional training. We offer training for tech teams and end users on Apple devices, their operating systems and the solutions you can use to manage them. Get in touch with the team to arrange Casper Suite training that’s tailored to your needs. Book your training here.

Official tech support. We offer five tiers of support for Casper Suite deployments, all at fixed, predictable annual costs. They range from general remote support and troubleshooting packages to our Gold package, which includes eight days with an engineer onsite, six half days of dedicated remote support for ongoing issues, ongoing end user support, annual health checks of your hardware and networks, roadmaps for future system development and the packaging and deployment of up to 12 business apps. Find out more here. [{{{{{{{LINK TO WEBPAGE}}}}}]

Why choose Jigsaw24?

Scale We’ve deployed more licences of Casper Suite and carried out more Jumpstart training than any other company in the UK.

Longevity We’ve been working with JAMF Software since 2012, and were one of the first companies in the UK to work with them, meaning we have the most experienced team of engineers available to you.

Apple expertise But it’s not all about JAMF. We’ve been providing Apple devices, solutions and services for over 24 years, and our support team really understand your devices, their underlying architecture and how they’ll interact with Casper Suite and your wider IT ecosystem, whether that be Windows or OS X-based.

Security As well as providing secure access to your licences, our Tier 2+ datacentre offers redundant power and disaster recovery in case of emergency.

Our satisfied customers include SuperGroup, Lincoln University, King’s College London, News UK, Pret-A-Manger, MTV, The AA, Jamie Oliver, Williams Lea, The Guardian, Pentland Brands and Burberry. If you’re ready to get started with Casper Suite, or unhappy with your current provision, our team can migrate you from an onsite deployment to a hosted or hosted and managed one in order to reduce your running costs. Email our engineers to find out how.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook


Jigsaw24 launch new meeting room app, Room24

Jigsaw24 launch new meeting room app, Room24

Not content with providing scheduling and sales apps for businesses, our app development team have turned their gaze inward, and created an Exchange-compatible meeting room app that’s stopped us fighting in the corridors like animals. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Room24.

What is Room24?

Room24 is our new meeting room booking app, tested to destruction here at Jigsaw24 HQ, and now available in a richer, more stable incarnation to the wider world, completely free of charge.

What’s so good about it?

Well, if you’re anything like we were, your meeting room schedule is divided between indecipherable whiteboards outside each room, and a sometimes-accurate, sort-of-public calendar that supposedly collates all the official bookings. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been hurt by a calendar like that, and we’re not foolish enough to let it happen again.

Room24 replaces this with a sleek, branded app that integrates into your company’s Exchange/Office 365 setup and pulls booking details directly from Exchange/Office 365 calendars. Staff can see the availability of rooms in their own calendar client and book one that’s free.

Room24 stylishly presents this meeting information on the iPad outside the meeting room, so everyone knows when the room’s taken (it’ll  show a giant red or green availability message, should any passersby want to know the status of a room) and also offers functionality to book a free room directly from the iPad. Room24 handles double bookings on a first come, first served basis, so your business will no longer be plagued by the infighting, deceit and general skullduggery that double bookings are scientifically proven to cause.

Who’s it for?

Room24 is suitable for any business, regardless of size or location, and doesn’t require any manual managing, controlling or updating. If something goes horrendously wrong, all you have to do is contact our app dev team, who, having built the thing from the ground up, should have a fix for you in no time.

This blog is usually a haven of commercialism. Why are you giving away something for free?

OK, you got us. The app and all its functionality is free – you can go and download it here, then book away to your heart’s content. If you want a slightly snazzier solution – in-app branding, a collection of iPad to run it on, branded stands and brackets to proudly display said iPad outside your meeting rooms – then we’ll ask you for money and set you up with the predictably named Room24 Pro. We can also provide training on the app, or code in bespoke functionality. (Again, we will have to charge you for this. Such are the bonds of capitalism.) But the actual app itself is absolutely gratis, regardless of whether you choose to buy the rest.

How do I learn more?

You can download the datasheet here, or download the app here and have a play. Alternatively, get in touch with the team on the details below.

Want to know more? Fill in the form below and one of the team will get back to you.

How Apple and Acronis are making Mac integration easier

How Apple and Acronis are making Mac integration easier

There have been times in history when Mac computers and PC servers were less than friendly, but with iOS devices overrunning offices and people outside the design department asking for Macs, those days are long gone. OS X offers you tools to make integration easier than ever, and there are some great third party tools available, too.

Let’s start with the basics

It’s a myth that you can’t integrate Mac computers into a Windows environment. The latest version of OS X, Yosemite, even supports SMB 3.0, so everyone’s on the same file sharing protocol and integration is even easier.

However, to deliver the best user experience, your servers still need a little help…

While huge strides have been made, SMB 3.0 is only supported by Windows Server 2012 and OS X Yosemite, and Mac users in a Windows environment can still experience issues like seeing certain files as ‘greyed out’ and inaccessible, or be denied certain permissions that their PC counterparts have. There are also Mac-only features, such as Spotlight search, that aren’t supported if you’re just using Apple’s built-in integration tools, but which contribute a considerable amount to your Mac users’ productivity and the hassle-free user experience they expect from their Apple kit.

Acronis Access Connect (formerly known as ExtremeZ-IP) is a tried and tested solution for solving these issues. By allowing Mac computers to connect to Windows servers over AFP, it re-enables instant search and indexing, and allows Mac users to integrate their files with volumes and file structures on your Windows network. It also returns support for Time Machine, Apple’s built-in backup technology, to the Mac.

Part of Access Connect’s appeal is that it installs quickly, and automatically integrates with Active Directory accounts and NTFS permissions. It then allows end users running any version of OS X to connect using AFP. This results in better performance from their core apps (which are all optimised for AFP) and gives parity of functionality between users.

It also makes life easier for IT admins – not just because they don’t have to deal with incompatibility-based help desk queries, but because Access Connect supports key features like single sign on through Kerberos,  DFS/network reshare, home directories, clustering, quotas, file name policies and advanced logging.

And don’t forget to back up…

If you need to back up your servers (hint: you do) but don’t have the money, capacity or desire to store all your backups locally (perhaps your office is a flood risk, or the office dog likes to gnaw through wires, or you’re just incredibly professional and thorough), then we can help there too.

Our Backup24 managed backup service allows you to back all your data up to our tier 2+ data centre. It’s based in the UK, so you know exactly where your data is, and we physically check that all backups have been successful every day. And if you’re feeling particularly worried about any particular day’s save, our team are only a phone call away. You can find out more here.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Using JAMF Software to tame iOS and OS X devices in the workplace

Using JAMF Software to tame iOS and OS X devices in the workplace

With the rise of OS X and iOS devices in business, finding a way to manage these devices and ensure they’re in line with company policies is more important than ever – especially if you need your Mac users to work in harmony with a PC-based workforce.  Here, we talk through some of the techniques and tools you can use to make sure all your Mac and iOS devices are managed and visible, without overburdening IT admin.

While the rise of Apple devices and BYOD/mixed platform environments can be great for productivity and end user satisfaction, it can be a cause for concern among IT admins, particularly as Apple have retired their server hardware, prompting a widespread move to managing Mac computers using Windows servers.  And as the Mac user base grows, viruses are becoming increasingly targeted at the platform, making policy compliance and disk encryption incredibly important for mobile devices and desktops alike. Happily, Apple and a range of third parties are working together to make the situation manageable.

Device Enrolment Programme (DEP)

One of Apple’s latest initiatives, the DEP is designed to make it easier for you to enrol new devices on your company’s MDM system, and reduce the chance of any user accessing the network on an unsecured device. It is not an MDM solution in and of itself, but it does make a ‘zero touch’ MDM deployment possible for all new devices, drastically reducing the time and effort involved in setting up new users.

Put broadly, your create MDM profiles for different types of device and user, then share them with Apple’s servers. Apple will assign your MDM server a unique token, and when a device connects to it for the first time, DEP will push the correct MDM profile to the device as part of the initial startup process, so your end users can’t use their new devices without enrolling them in your MDM service, and no one from IT has to be on hand to oversee registration – it’s all done automatically.

You can enrol your company in DEP at deploy.apple.com.

Preparing for MDM

Before rolling out an MDM solution for Apple devices, you’ll need to make a decision about your Apple ID policy. Many apps and services, both free and paid for, rely on your end user having an Apple ID to authenticate their identity in the App Store and other areas. For this reason, we recommend you allow users to create individual Apple IDs (however, your admin team should use a shared Apple ID to access services like DEP and VPP).

Every Apple ID requires an associated email address – the degree of freedom you wish to allow users and whom ownership of the device sits with will determine whether you allow end users to use their personal emails and existing Apple IDs, or insist they create a separate Apple ID associated with their work email address.

MDM solutions: JAMF Software’s Casper Suite

JAMF Software are one of the most experienced Mac and iOS management experts out there, and their Casper Suite management solution is even used by Apple themselves. At the core of the suite is the JAMF Software Server, which acts just like a web server. It can be hosted on any existing Windows, Linux or OS X server at your premises, hosted remotely via JAMF Cloud or provided as a managed service by our accredited team.

Key features include:

Recon, an app included in the suite which scans your existing estate for Apple devices not currently enrolled in Casper Suite. Recon can then be used to enrol multiple OS X computers remotely. It will also scan IP ranges and enrol any computer it can connect to via SSH (Remote Login).

A range of imaging options, including monolithic imaging (IT builds a standard image including apps and settings, which is then deployed locally or over the network to all computers), thin imaging (IT builds a smaller, more modular image which is installed on top of a standard OS X installation, and other restrictions and apps are deployed using profiles and policies) and zero touch imaging (enrolment through DEP).

Self Service, an app which acts like an internal App Store for your organisation. It can contain apps linked to VPP, packaged apps, eBooks, printer settings, configuration profiles and custom profiles, all of which users can install on or apply to their own device without IT intervention.

JAMF software can be run completely on windows server hardware if required.

Volume Purchasing Program and Managed Distribution

Apple’s Volume Purchasing Program (VPP) is a purchasing scheme designed to save time and money for organisations who want to buy apps and books in bulk. It allows your IT admin to purchase several licences for a particular app, then centrally assign them to end users.

Traditionally, you had to buy your licences, download a spreadsheet of redeemable codes, provide a code to each user so that they can download the app without paying again, and then transfer ownership of the app or book to that user’s Apple ID permanently. Obviously, this is quite time consuming and messy, and involves you losing ownership of the app or book.

Now, if you’re using DEP, you can use Managed Distribution to license content to your end users, meaning they can use the app or book on a temporary basis but you can revoke access at any time. All you need to do is use Casper Suite to generate an invitation email for the end users who need access, and then they’ll be guided through the installation and licensing process without the need for IT admin’s involvement.

Casper Suite as a managed service

If you don’t have the resource to handle MDM in-house, or if your IT team are all PC-based and aren’t comfortable administrating Macs or iOS devices, we can provide Casper Suite as a managed service. You tell us what needs doing; our JAMF-certified team can set up and maintain your deployment. We can even help you optimise your infrastructure for Casper Suite, so you’re getting the best possible performance out of your software.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Thanks for swinging by our 4K shootout

Thanks for swinging by our 4K shootout

We’ve released the models, sent our demo units back on the road and written John Harrison a long and embarrassing fan letter, but there is one thing left to do: thank you, the people, for bearing witness to our epic 4K Shootout last week. 

As well as cameras from JVC, Sony, Canon, Panasonic, AJA and Blackmagic, we managed to round up some of the best peripherals available (Zeiss, Samyang and Tokina glass, Atomos DTEs, Dedolite and Kinoflo lights, Libec tripods, IDX charge kits, Shape rigs, Konova sliders and – last but not least – HPRC cases) so that visitors could try out the cameras fully rigged, and in a fully lit environment.


Broadcast Consultant Anthony contemplates the universe

Award-winning cinematographer John Harrison was there to deliver two oversubscribed seminars on lighting for 4K. Sorry to everyone we had to turn away from the first session, but even our warren-like office can only hold so many people. Those who were lucky enough to make it in were treated to a lighting masterclass on how to make the best use of your Dedolight and Kinoflow kit when you’re shooting at high res, complete with some fascinating questions from a really engaged crowd. For those who like to keep track of these things, John was shooting on a Sony F55.


John Harrison summons light from our boardroom floor, a feat only true DoPs can perform.

Downstairs in Wonderland, we had the shootout proper, with a Sony FS7, AJA Cion, Blackmagic Design URSA (hint, we have £1000 off these at the moment), Sony A7-S, Panasonic GH4 and JVC LS-300 all available for shooting. We’d rigged the cameras as far as possible, with a DTE on pretty much anything (thanks to Atomos for showing up in force with more toys than we knew what to do with).

We also had the incredible JVC GW-S100e 4K remote control camera system, which allows you to capture 4K footage remotely from what is possible the smallest MFT camera we’ve ever seen.

We can't tell if those guys in the back are crowding round an FS7 or queueing for free beer.

We can’t tell if those guys in the back are crowding round an FS7 or queueing for free beer.

Thanks for everyone who was involved, from the vendors who bought their kit to those who showed up last minute for the beer and networking. If you didn’t see anything that was right for you, try our Small is the New Big event on 20th August, where we’ll be pitting pro handheld cameras like the Panasonic GH4, Canon C100 and Sony X70 against each other to find the tiniest and mightiest of the current handheld crop, as well as giving you the chance to try out Optica’s latest sliders and gimbals.

You can register for our pro handheld event here.

Need 4K kit? Take a look at our best video deals here. Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Getting a Panasonic GH4? Remember to pair it with a Shogun…

Getting a Panasonic GH4? Remember to pair it with a Shogun…

The Panasonic Lumix GH4 is one of the lightest and most compact 4K cameras available, and is one of our top picks for any DSLR shooters who are looking to up their video game – especially as it comes in at a pleasingly frugal £981.66 ex VAT.



So, just to cover off the basics: the GH4 features a 16.05-megapixel Digital Live MOS sensor capable of capturing high-resolution JPEG and RAW stills, as well as UHD 4K 3840×2160 24p/24p/30p, cinematic DCI 4K 4096×2160 video at 24p, and full HD at up to 96 fps onto SD card.

It’s a DLSM, meaning it has no mirror box so is even lighter and more compact than your usual DSLR – ideal for run and gun shooting – and the fact that there’s no arbitrary time limit for video shooting (a common gripe with otherwise lovely DSLRs for video).

However, it’s not quite perfect. We’re of the opinion that the the internal codec does not do that amazing sensor justice, producing 4K images that will lose sharpness and become unreliable if you manipulate them in post, and the on-board monitor is just a standard issue screen – it’s not particularly large, colour accurate and the monitoring of peaking, zebras and so on is unwieldy.

Our solution? The Atomos Shogun

The Shogun lets you shoot 10-bit ProRes, meaning you’ll have access to the sensor’s full dynamic range and colourspace, which the GH4’s internal 4K codec does not give you. The image you get as a result will hold up far better in post, giving you more creative options and resulting in an overall sharper, cleaner image.

Not only that, but you’ll have a large, accurate monitor with intuitive controls for peaking, zebras, and scopes – yes, the GH4 has some of these, but the Shogun’s display is designed specifically with them in mind, so is far easier to use and will ultimately give you tighter control over your image.

And if that’s not enough, it also has metadata tagging, so you can set in and out points, flag good or bad takes, or add metadata on the way back to base, speeding up your workflow no end, especially if you’re not the one who’s going to be editing your image.

The money bit

So eager are we that you experience the joy of a GH4-Shogun union, we’re currently offering a summer special deal where you can save £350 on a Shogun and GH4 when you buy them together, then get £200 cashback, and then we’ll give you a free Atomos Action Pack (including a travel case, silicone bumper, kickstand, sun hood and anti-reflective LCD protector). We’re not saying that only a madman would refuse such a deal, but if you don’t click on the tasteful banner below, we’ll worry about you.

Buy now

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Day in the Life of: Scene Photography

Day in the Life of: Scene Photography

In the first of a new ‘Day in the Life’ series on creatives and creative agencies from around the UK, we go behind the scenes at Nottingham-based studio Scene Photography. Check out the video below for an insight into Rob and Karen Smalley’s creative workflow, and the tools they’re using to help boost productivity.

Throughout our Day in the Life series, we’ll be calling round at other creatives, including graphic design and web design agencies, and more, so you can see some of the great work others in the industry are getting up to, and how they’re making the most of the latest creative tools.

Subscribe on YouTube to keep up with our latest Day in the Life videos, and please feel free to share with other creatives!

Want to know more? Call 03332 409 306, email design@Jigsaw24.com, head on over to our new Design & Publishing home page and don’t forget to check out our Adobe Creative Cloud hub for resources, and updates on all your favourite Adobe apps. For all the latest news and tips follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Zoom F8: Finally, an affordable pro field recorder with timecode

Zoom F8: Finally, an affordable pro field recorder with timecode

Enthusiasm for Zoom’s first foray into field recording has been building to a fever pitch since it was unveiled at NAB, and now the Zoom F8 is finally on our shelves. Here’s a quick reminder of why you should get your order in…

Zoom F8 field recorder

For a mere £665 ex VAT, the Zoom F8 8 track field recorder offers you:

– Eight mic preamps with phantom power.

–  24-bit / 192kHz recording – timecoded Broadcast Wave.

– The ability to record eight separate tracks and a stereo mix (ten tracks in total).

– Built-in mixer.

– Built in timecode – input and output on BNC.

– Dual SD card slots for redundancy when recording.

– Full remote control via iOS app over Bluetooth.

– Dedicated socket which accepts Zoom’s own plug in mic modules (same ones as the H5/H6).

More or less the only thing you have to provide yourself is a set of eight AA batteries to power the thing, and even then you can opt for an extra external battery pack that offers automatic failover when power runs low.

At £665 + VAT, the F8 is £2000 cheaper than a Sound Devices which doesn’t offer timecode as standard and has no remote option. Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in rave reviews and a great deal of demand, so we’re advising people to get their orders in early. You can do so by clicking the tasteful, subtle banner below.

Buy now from Jigsaw24


Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

4K Shootout: Your guide to the current 4K camera crop

4K Shootout: Your guide to the current 4K camera crop

With our 4K shootout due to mosey into town any day now (well, on 23rd July), we thought it was time to take a closer look at four of the cameras you’ll be able to get hands-on with on the day. Take notes, prepare questions, mentally pick out lenses: anything to ensure you’re not overwhelmed when you get the chance to shoot with all four of them side by side. 

Sony PXW-FS7

First up, the Sony PXW-FS7. As we’ve said before, this Super 35mm 4K handheld takes everything we loved about the FS700, ratchets it up to 11 and then marries it to one of the most ergonomic designs we’ve seen in a long time.

The FS7 is the most flexible workhorse of the bunch, well built enough to function as an excellent ENG and documentary camera. The built-in hand grip serves the dual function of making the camera lighter and easier to balance during long shoots, and means that you don’t have to rig the camera to the extent that you expect in order to get the shots that you want – both big pluses for run and gun shooting.

However, that’s not to discount the quality of images you can get from this camera – it’s capable of shooting beautiful footage, and its support for S-Log3 effectively gives you 1.5 extra stops of dynamic range compared to its predecessor, the FS700, and, as S-Log3 is pretty close to Cineon log, the footage you get is easier to grade and you’ve got more chance of achieving a classic ‘filmic’ look.

Sensor-wise, the PXW-FS7 boasts a Super 35mm CMOS image sensor with 11.6 million pixels in a 4352 x 2662 configuration, including 8.9 million effective pixels. The sensor’s high readout speed means the FS7 can support super slow motion 4K shooting, and its full pixel readout capability and lack of pixel binning mean that jaggies and noir are minimised.

While it’s natively E-mount, an A-mount adaptor is available if you want access to a wider pool of lenses. Plus, Sony are so confident about the quality of their hardware that they’re offering an extended warranty on it, which is always reassuring.


AJA are known for their sturdy, unfussy designs, and the CION follows that pattern exactly: its traditional form factor and lightweight body make it an ergonomic choice for longer shoots. There’s also the usual (but highly practical) fact that it can be stored away while fully rigged, so if you need to shoot with no notice, you can just take it out of its case and go.

Design considerations aside, the CION is able to output 4K raw data at up to 120fps via 4x 3G-SDI outputs (you can shoot directly to edit-ready Apple ProRes 4444 at up to 4K 30fps over Thunderbolt, ProRes 422 at up to 4K 60fps, or output AJA Raw at up to 4K 120fps), and records directly to AJA Pak SSD media at up to 60 frames per second. Its APS-C sized CMOS sensor is backed by great internal processing, meaning your end image is noise-free under most conditions, and it packs in an electronic global shutter and 12 stops of dynamic range.

Given the range of codecs and lens options available to you, the CION is a great choice for anyone who’s looking to achieve a cinematic look under a range of circumstances and workflows. AJA’s hardware is typically built like a tank and rarely goes EOL, so we’re willing to bet the CION will be kept current for a good few years – it’s already had some interesting firmware upgrades – making it a safe investment for anyone who needs their camera to last far longer than it should at its price point.

Blackmagic Design URSA

As we’ve said before, of all this group, the URSA is most suited to multiple operators; you can even split the on-camera controls so that one side of the camera controls audio while the other handles image settings, and can check separate scopes on all three of the URSA’s on-board monitors.

The corollary to this is that the URSA really needs to be rigged on a tripod, being, as it is, one of the heaviest cameras we’ve ever encountered. You’ll also need a good stock of V-lock batteries, as the URSA’s massive internal processing power translates to a constant thirst for power, so grab some batteries and a VTC plate along with the camera body if you’re thinking of buying.

However, it can shoot incredibly flexibly, supports high frame rate and delivers what are team our calling “pretty hardcore” image quality, so if you want 180fps ProRes now, no questions asked, this is the camera to set your sights on.


Not often mentioned in the same breath as the other three, but we think the LS300 has a lot more to offer than most people assume. First off, this is a Super 35mm 4K camera for under £3K ex VAT, which is extremely good value. And the fact that it supports a wide range of interchangeable lenses means that you can probably save again by reusing your existing still camera lenses to shoot video. Then of course there’s the fact that it shoots 4K Ultra HD, full HD with 4:2:2 sampling, SD and web-friendly proxy files, so you’re not going to need to replace or add to it for some time, meaning you’ll get great ROI.

It also has some very nifty hidden features and, because it has a full frame sensor and lets you scale down the crop factor by percentage, offers you ultimate lens flexibility. If you want to capture a micro 4/3″ or 2/3″ size image, you simply need to scale to the correct size, then carry on shooting as if you were on a smaller sensor camera. And even if you’re attaching the smallest lenses in your collection, you’ll still be able to pull HD images off the camera – in some cases, even 4K.

It also has XLR inputs, so you have plenty of high quality micing options, and will support auto-focus and zoom rocker use on any lenses that have those features enabled, meaning that with the right accessories the LS300 can become a really interesting run and gun camera, perfect for live events and ENG-style shooting – especially given its live streaming and FTP capabilities.

Register for our 4K Shootout

Drop by our Soho office on 23rd July to get hands on with these guys and put your questions to the team – we’ll also have Varicam, DSLRs like the A7S and GH4, the URSA Mini and the XC-10, as well as Zeiss glass, a 4K lighting setup from Cirrolight (and a tutorial on lighting for 4K with cinematographer John Harrison).

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Free Atomos Shogun upgrade adds FS700 RAW, FS7 RAW and more

Free Atomos Shogun upgrade adds FS700 RAW, FS7 RAW and more

Since the Shogun launched in late 2014, Atomos have constantly kept users updated with free features, adding significant value to the already affordable all-in-one 4K/HD monitor-recorder. The AtomOS6.4 update released today adds some of the most anticipated features for users to date including:

1. FS700 & FS7 4K-DCI RAW to ProRes/DNxHR record.
2. Anamorphic de-squeeze including 2x, 1.5x, 1.33x and Panasonic 8:3 modes.
3. Pre-roll recording (up to eight seconds in HD and two seconds in 4K).
4. Custom timelapse recording – keyframe.
5. LUTs can be applied on output, in recording, on screen and in split screen.
6. Playlist generation of all clips on the disk, user selected clips, cut edited favourite clips or a combination of both.
7. Expanded metadata tagging – wide shot, closeup, talent 1 or 2, over-exposed, bad audio, colour correction and cut away – plus FCPX 1.4 XML upgrade.
8. Genlock activated for synced playback and playout in Genlock environments.

“We have unleashed thousands of dollars of value for free,” says Jeromy Young, CEO and co-founder of Atomos. “Features like RAW transform the FS700 from an HD camera to a 4K camera with accurate colours and real conversion to REC709 for the best ProRes and DNxHR recording, the Anamorphic de-squeeze adds even more functionality to the Panasonic GH4. Playlist converts the Shogun into an affordable playout server on set, and time lapse gives a creative edge to all of our users in the field.”

The AtomOS6.4 update is available for free download from www.atomos.com/support.

Shogun’s new features in full

1. FS700 & FS7 4K-DCI RAW to ProRes/DNxHR record.
Users can take the RAW 4K-DCI feed from the SDI output on the Sony FS7 and FS700 and record direct to 4K-DCI ProRes or DNxHR. The linear RAW feed can be recorded as S-log2, S-log3 or Rec709, and can support 24/25/30p resolution. For the army of FS700 users in the field, this is the feature they have been waiting for, converting their HD camera into a 4K powerhouse.

2. Anamorphic de-squeeze for 2x, 1.5x, 1.33x and the specific Panasonic 8:3 mode support.
Anamorphic was one of the key trends from this year’s NAB, led by a mass of new anamorphic lenses and the announcement from Panasonic that they would add anamorphic squeeze to their popular GH4 camera. With this update, the Shogun can de-squeeze an anamorphic image from 2x, 1.5x, 1.33x and Panasonic 8:3 modes. Another reason to add GH4 with Shogun.

3. Pre-roll recording of eight seconds HD, two seconds 4K.
With pre-roll activated, the Shogun is continually cache recording – up to eight seconds for HD and two seconds for 4K. Perfect for capturing action sports or long wildlife shoots, ensuring you always get the shot even if you hadn’t hit record yet. Works in all modes including RAW.

4. Custom time lapse recording.
One of the most creative features added is video time lapse. With this feature, users have complete control over their unique time lapse style with the ability to adjust the number of frames, time between capturing the next frame, total record time and clip playback length. The user interface has been well thought through to make the process easy, and with the ability to set multiple steps, add a smooth transition and even schedule the recording time, capturing the perfect timelapse sunset is now a much easier task.

5. LUTs able to be applied on output, in recording, on screen and split screen.
Since February, Shogun users have been able to upload their own LUTs in a “.cube” file format to review and measure the effect on the monitor before recording. Now, in OS6.4, additional LUT capability has been added with the ability to view the LUT on the output and on the screen, bake it in the recording and even view in half screen mode to see the direct result of the LUT on the final image.

6. Expanded metadata tagging.
We have expanded the metadata capability of the Shogun to allow for on the fly tagging, whether during recording or during review in playback. The ten meta data tags available (Favourite, Reject, Talent 1, Talent 2, Over Exposed, Colour Correct, Bad Audio, Cut Away, Closeup, Wide shot) allow for keyword search in FCPX, and can be transferred across to Adobe and Avid using readily available online tools.

7. Genlock activated.
The Genlock terminal on the back of the Shogun has been activated to allow for synchronised playout and playback.

8. Playlist generation.
The ability to record, playback and review quickly on set has been an integral feature of Shogun and now, with playlist functionality, the process for reviewing rushes and favourite scenes on set is easier than ever. Play all movies in recorded order, or hand-select a playlist for playback in any order – either your choice of multiple clips, just the favorited sections of a clip, or a combination of both. This functionality makes the Shogun one of the most affordable 4K playout server solutions available on set.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.